Lantern Festival


We visited the Missouri Botanical Gardens last night and enjoyed seeing the ‘Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night’. This festival started last week, but last night was only the second night that it was open to the general public. This festival is scheduled to run all summer (until August 19th). Normally, I do not recommend that visitors come to Saint Louis in the summertime. This is because our summer weather is frequently both hot and humid, but this summer might be the exception to this rule. Not the hot and humid weather, but rather my recommendation for visiting Saint Louis. This may be just the summer to come to town. Last night’s weather was the exception that proves this weather rule, cool, calm and clear.

We are members of the garden, so admission is normally free. This is still true during the day, but admission at night is $15 (Thursday through Sunday evenings). There is one exception to this. If you renew your garden membership then your admission is free that night. Your one-year membership is tacked onto the end of your existing membership, so this is a pretty good deal. When we go back again, we’ll exercise this option.

The lanterns are lit at eight and the garden remains open until ten. At this time of year, as we near solstice, it is not quite dark at eight and two hours isn’t much time to see the twenty plus lantern installations. I guess that is why things were still rocking well after ten.

The lanterns start as a chalk outline drawn on the ground. Wire is molded into the form of the outline. The molded wire is welded together to create the lantern’s structure. Silk is cut and sewn onto the wire frame. Some of the pieces use special materials. Such as porcelain for the twin dragons before the Climatron, plastic bottles for the sailing boat and medicine bottles with the Qilin. Colored water fills the medicine bottles, which are strung together for the Qilin.

Experience one of China’s most treasured events and ancient traditions this summer as the Missouri Botanical Garden hosts an international exhibition of larger-than-life, lighted works of art. Whether you view the “art by day” or experience the illuminated “magic by night” or both, this festival is well worth attending. I highly recommend coming to Saint Louis this summer to see this exhibit.

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